Tips to Get the Most Out of a RELIANT Hiring Fairs
Bring many copies of your resume to submit to employers.
Come prepared. If you spend a little time getting some background on an organization, then you can ask very focused and specific questions. This impresses representatives because it shows a genuine interest in them. The list of employers, and their website will be sent to pre-registrants before the event. Check out each employer's website before arriving.
Dress appropriately. First impressions are important. While campus attire is acceptable for fairs, you will probably be most comfortable if you at least dress in "business casual." See Interview Attire.
Allow yourself adequate time. Come as early as possible. Typically, fairs are busiest during the first hour of the event. Fairs close promptly at publicized ending times to accommodate employers' travel arrangements.
Get your bearings. When you arrive, take a few minutes to review the map and directory for the fair. You may feel more comfortable if you quickly locate and walk by the employers in whom you're most interested. This will confirm their location and alert you to any crowds or lines of other students waiting.
Prioritize the employers you're most interested in. If your schedule allows, you may find it easiest to start with the employers in which you're less interested. This will allow you to hone your approach and to be most confident when you approach the employers you're especially excited about. Be sure to balance this tip with the reality that you may have little time and that many other career seekers may be interested in the same employers. Assume that you will need to wait to speak with some employers.
Be flexible. The fair directory provides a brief summary of employers' opportunities and may not have been submitted by the same people who come to the fair. Some positions may no longer be available and other openings may have just emerged. No single employer representative is knowledgeable about all positions available, especially in a large organization. Some reps attending fairs are there to share their experiences working at the organization and may not be involved in the hiring process. If the employer rep at the fair does not know specifically about jobs/internships of interest to you, ask for the name of someone who can help you.
Introduce yourself and be prepared to give your "career pitch." Extend your hand, say "hello" and state your name. Have your resume ready to give to the employer. Be ready to talk about your career interests as well as academic and career experiences to show your skills and strengths.
Take notes when you inquire about next steps and the possibility of talking with additional managers. The representative at the fair may not be able to answer all of your questions or know specifics about your job interests. Write down the names, telephone numbers, etc. of other staff in the organization whom you can contact later. Note specific employer information sessions, on-site interviewing and projected hiring dates that will affect you. You will not be able to take advantage of this information if you don't record it.
Ask the representative for his/her card, and then promptly send a thank-you note. Having the business card of the representative you have just spoken with serves three purposes. First, you have a direct contact with the organization, including the proper spelling of the representative's name, direct telephone line, etc. Second, a brief thank-you note acknowledges the help they gave you and the time they took to visit attend the event. Third, sending thank-you notes is a good professional habit.
Respect employers' materials/sample items. Some employers bring large quantities of print materials or "give aways" clearly intended for career seekers to take. Other employers bring a few copies of print materials, sample products, etc. as displays at their tables. Always check with employers before taking materials from their tables and don't take materials still packed in boxes. Some employers come to multiple days of fairs and plan to have enough materials for all days.
Be courteous! Demonstrate sensitivity to other career seekers waiting to speak with employers by keeping your questions brief and offering to continue your conversation at a later time. Enjoy the fair and your interaction with the employers. Let your positive attitude show!